Developing Your Personal SWOT Analysis
Just in case you are worried, this has nothing to do with having been a swot at school or college and everything to do with maximizng your chances of getting a good job.
These days it isn’t enough to create an amazing CV or resume, you need to have a brilliant jobsearch strategy and a good place to start is your personal SWOT analysis.
What on Earth is a SWOT Analysis?
A SWOT Analysis is simply an (honest) evaluation of your own strengths (S) and weaknesses (W),as well as the opportunities (O) you could tap in to and the potential problems or threats (T) which could get between you and your perfect job.
The first two (S and W) are internal factors, relating to your personality, experience, skills and education and the last two (O and T) are based on external factors relating to the job market, economy and of course, other job applicants.
Assessing Strengths for Your Personal SWOT Analysis
What are you good at? What are your strongest skills and what expert knowledge do you possess?
To answer these questions, you should look at different areas of your life. Work is the obvious place to start, but if you have no work experience yet, you can look at your student activities – the ones related to studying or improving your career that is 🙂
And don’t forget your other activities – transferable skills picked up in the course of following hobbies, sports and doing voluntary work or part time jobs can come in very useful when applying for jobs, especially in the early stages of your career.
If you aren’t very good at recognizing your own strengths, you can ask friends what they think you are good at or where your strengths lie. And you can also think back to job appraisals and reports you had at school or college. What did your tutors/school teachers/bosses think you were good at? Were you praised for anything?
What came easily to you at school or college or in the workplace? Were there skills you picked up really easily, when other people had to struggle? Did people remark on the fact that you didn’t seem to have to work hard or at all in some areas?
Once you’ve come up with some strengths, go through all of your jobs and the courses you’ve attended and make a list of the skills you have developed in each. You may not feel that all of these are particularly strong skills, but while they may not be amongst your most obvious strengths, they could prove to be strengths in certain situations. For example, if you speak school-girl or school-boy French, this would not be considered an asset in a multinational company with many bilingual workers. However, if you worked in a company which didn’t normally deal with French speakers, had no-one on staff who spoke a word of he language, but suddenly got French client, you would be the expert.
List all of the strengths which you have and which relate directly or indirectly to the requirements for each job. This will cover skills, talents, experience and qualifications and don’t forget to include soft skills such as communication skills and teamwork, as well as personal qualities like patience, tenacity and attention to detail.
You should also write down at least one example of a situation in which you used each of your strengths. This will be invaluable when it comes to writing applications.
Considering Weaknesses for your Personal SWOT Analysis
List areas you consider to be your weaknesses, that is, the areas where you lack experience or your skills are not very developed. Don’t forget that this is not anything to feel ashamed about – it isn’t possible to have strong skills in everything and some of the things you regard as weaknesses now, could become strengths once you have more experience.
Opportunities and your Personal SWOT Analysis
Since both opportunities and threats come from outside, you should look at them in relation to the jobs you are applying for. So consider the type of job you want and the companies you would like to work for.
So let’s start with opportunities.
You can look at this from two different perspectives: opportunities to develop and move forward in your own career and also opportunities or situations in which you add value to the company and the employer.
From your own perspective, when you are considering a job, ask yourself if this job offers what you want from a career?.Will training be provided, are there opportunities on offer for progression, will you have the chance to travel or whatever else is on your wish list?
Employers are not so concerned about your hopes – they are much more interested in what’s in it for them. So you need to think about the opportunities you could give your potential employers. These could be opportunities for development and improvement of the products they sell or the services they provide. Opportunities to help your employer are likely to be very closely linked to your strengths.
These are obstacles which might prevent your getting the job you want in the first place. Alternatively, they could be things which seriously hamper your progress if you are hired. As an example, problems in the economyin general or the sector the compnay is in could lead to cutbacks and redundancy.
Another perceived threat could be your competitors – plenty of other people are applying for the jobs you are after. Are if they have more relevant qualifications or experience than you, you could be in trouble, if you aren’t well prepared.
Understanding the job market will help you to come up with strategies which put you ahead of the competition.